10-year-old hits the campaign trail for 2040 election

KINGSTON, Mass. --While most 5th graders are focused on swings more than swing states, 10-year-old Alena Mulhern is running for something much bigger than the next piece of playground equipment. She's running for president - in 2040.

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Alena Mulhern wants to be President of the United States CBS News

Alena announced her career plan the day after watching President Obama's second inauguration.

"We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American," President Obama said in his speech.

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Barbara Mulhern CBS News

He wasn't talking about Alena, per se, but he sure spoke to her.

"She heard that," said Alena's mom Barbara Mulhern.

"I had told her before that you can be anything you want to be, as we all tell our children," said Mulhern. "She said to me, 'I want to be president.' And I said, 'Honey, that's the only thing you can't be.'"

Here's the problem. One of the few pre-requisites for becoming president is that you're born on American soil, and Alena was adopted form China when she was 10 months old.

"I think I was just a bit confused," said Alena of learning the rule. "All I know is the United States. And then someone tells me since you were born in China you can't become president, I didn't really like that."

She so didn't like that, she sent the president a petition with 120 signatures asking the law be changed. And when all she got back was a letter, she tried another track: Ellen Degeneres.

"She hasn't gotten back to me yet."

So she moved on to step three. Last month Alena somehow got herself in front of the Massachusetts legislature.

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Alena took her cause to the Massachusetts legislature

"I learned how our government works and realized this is the way to change the law."

She is now asking her local lawmakers to pass a resolution urging Congress to take up the matter.

"Just think of all the great candidates that would not be able to serve our country because of a law that came into existence over 200 years ago," Alena explained.

It's a long shot, for sure. There will be many arguments to come. But for now, this budding politician is sticking to her one, irrefutable talking-point.

"I love this country. I'll stick with that."

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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.